As a born & bred – red, white & blue – baseball, hot dogs & apple pie American, I’ve had freedom embedded into my DNA at about every level of my being. That said, I think that true freedom is something I’m constantly growing to understand.
I can verbally wrangle with at least the average person-on-the-street over the importance of Free Speech. I did, after all, take a First Amendment Law course at Indiana University and have the very large book to prove it. Given at least a 20 minutes to get myself riled up, I might actually make some sense in my ranting.
But the idea of freedom that makes my heart swell when the color guard marches in and the anthem plays is only a somewhat distorted shadow of the freedom that I’m really talking about—the freedom that I think Nelson Mandela is pointing us toward. And honestly, I’m not at all sure I can put into words what I’m beginning to understand.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NLT)
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‘” (John 8:31-32 NLT)
I’m rather quite certain that true freedom is found only in relationship with the One who is the truth. It is not just that Christ’s death on the cross sets us free from bondage to the consequence of our sin. It is that being fully known and perfectly loved by Him transforms us from sin-bound to righteous. From empty to full. From disconnected and alone and purposeless to forever-loved, never-abandonable and filled with meaning. It is His name, after all. Emmanuel. God with us.
And I don’t understand this. Yet. But I’m starting to see shadows. I’ve occasionally gotten a glimpse after He has passed by.